NEBBIOLO + CROATINA + VESPOLINA
[neh-bee-OH-low] + [kroh-ah-TEE-nah] + [VEHS-PO-lina]
Here in Bramaterra they refer to Nebbiolo as being ‘etched by an extinct volcanic terroir of yellow porphyritic sand.’ This is not the fresh volcanic material that Southern Italy is renowned for, but the remaining material left behind by a volcano 300 million years ago. Bramaterra Nebbiolo has probably the strongest reputation in the Alto Piemonte for powerful wines that can age as well as Barolo. In fact, if you ask the locals here their resounding sentiment would be ‘far better and longer than Barolo.’ To which you respond by holding out a glass and demanding evidence.
Colombera & Garella is a project with Cristiano Garella, Alto Piemontese wünderkind and leading consultant for a number of properties, alongside his long-time friends Giacomo and Carlo Colombera, who have been growing grapes in Bramaterra since the early 1990s. They adhere to natural farming, with only copper, sulfur, and natural fertilizer being added to the vines. Cristiano has garnered a heavy hitter reputation for his hand in creating beautiful wines, but it is important to note that at no time is he trying to make something that is massively sensational and unapproachable. Despite their natural age worthiness, he never wants to make a wine that is best untouched for 10 years like in Barolo, as he feels it’s not the correct expression for his region.
Undeniably recognizable Nebbiolo aromas in there with complimentary grapes playing a big role here too. Some assertive black pepper, and a light roasted coffee note that is so often associated with alpine reds from this area and other northern Italian growing regions. Black tea steeped with some slightly bitter alpine herb nuance. Black raspberries, bright cherry flavors and a sweet leathery earth. This wine presents itself with stiff and brawny shoulders at first, but relaxes after a moment or two, kicks up its feet, and starts telling a riveting tale.
‘Costa della Sesia’, similar to Colline Novaresi on the other side of the river, is the equivalent of a ‘Langhe’ Nebbiolo from the south. Though in these small appellations it is more often made from fruit from the same vineyards and simply declassified and treated with less age.